2014 Festival of Sail’s many beautiful tall ships!

People arrive at San Diego's 2014 Festival of Sail on the Embarcadero.
People arrive at San Diego’s 2014 Festival of Sail on the Embarcadero.

I began a description of the 2014 Festival of Sail in the previous blog post, where I showed photos of the brig Pilgrim docked on San Diego’s Embarcadero. The big Labor Day weekend event features 21 different vessels, so now I’ll provide a quick tour of the other beautiful tall ships that can be seen on sparkling San Diego Bay! I have so many pics that I’ve broken them up into two separate parts.

The sails of the historic Star of India rise beyond a kettle corn sign!
The sails of the historic Star of India rise beyond a kettle corn sign!
The many ships of the San Diego Maritime Museum took part, including HMS Surprise.
The many ships of the San Diego Maritime Museum took part, including HMS Surprise.

You might remember having seen HMS Surprise in the Academy Award winning movie Master and Commander, starring Russell Crowe!

One of several pirates walking about the annual event, thrilling lots of kids.
One of several pirates walking about the annual event, thrilling lots of kids.
Three temporary floating docks are surrounded by visiting tall ships.
Three temporary floating docks are surrounded by visiting tall ships.

The nearest ship is the Pilgrim, a replica of the historic ship described by Richard Henry Dana in Two Years Before the Mast.

Gaff-rigged schooner Spirit of Dana Point was tied up next to the Pilgrim.
Gaff-rigged schooner Spirit of Dana Point was tied up next to the Pilgrim.
Early morning festival visitors check out the Spirit of Dana Point.
Early morning festival visitors check out the Spirit of Dana Point.
One of several photographers looking for cool shots on the beautiful ships.
One of several photographers looking for cool shots on the beautiful ships.
This large bell was donated by famous actor John Wayne from his own ranch!
This large bell was donated by famous actor John Wayne from his own ranch!

That is one loud bell!

Ship's compass is another typical nautical sight.
Ship’s compass is another typical nautical sight.
Looking across the picturesque deck of the Spirit of Dana Point.
Looking across the picturesque deck of the Spirit of Dana Point.
Golden female figurehead gazes out across San Diego Bay.
Golden female figurehead gazes out across San Diego Bay.
Three-masted schooner American Pride awaits across the dock.
Three-masted schooner American Pride awaits across the dock.
American Pride and paddleboarder seen from bayside walkway.
American Pride and paddleboarder seen from bayside walkway.
View of American Pride from Curlew.
View of American Pride’s elegant stern from nearby Curlew.
This photographer aims at a cannon!
Photographer on American Pride takes aim at a cannon!
American Pride, built in 1941, calls Long Beach home.
American Pride, built in 1941, calls Long Beach home.
People prepare to board the small staysail schooner Curlew
People prepare to board the small staysail schooner Curlew
This sailing ship won many East Coast races in the 1920's and 1930's.
This sailing ship won many East Coast races in the 1920’s and 1930’s.
Visitors check out the small schooner Curlew.
Visitors check out the beautiful sailing vessel.
Curlew served as a training ship and submarine patrol boat in World War II.
Curlew served as a training ship and submarine patrol boat in World War II.
Kayakers were out cruising among the assembled tall ships.
Kayakers were out cruising among the assembled tall ships.
The Tole Mour awaits at the second floating dock, my next stop!
The Tole Mour awaits at the second floating dock, my next stop!

Stay tuned! There’s more to come!

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Richard Henry Dana’s brig Pilgrim in San Diego!

Replica of Richard Henry Dana's brig Pilgrim at the 2014 Festival of Sail!
Replica of Richard Henry Dana’s brig Pilgrim at the 2014 Festival of Sail!

One of the world’s most famous sailing ships has returned to San Diego after 180 years!

Well–ahem–actually, a replica of the Pilgrim, the ship that became immortal in Richard Henry Dana’s classic book Two Years Before the Mast, sailed into San Diego Bay a few days ago. It’s one of many beautiful tall ships participating in this Labor Day weekend’s 2014 Festival of Sail.

This morning I got a bunch of pics of the festival and all the amazing ships along the Embarcadero. But I decided to start off by writing a blog post about the Pilgrim, which has a warm spot in my heart.

Every so often I reread Two Years Before the Mast, when I get a hankering to revisit the true, very interesting and adventurous tale written by Dana about his difficult voyage around Cape Horn and along the mostly uninhabited California coast as a common sailor. For some reason I feel a strange kinship with the author. Whenever I enjoy the book, I always try to envision what his hardy cattle hide trading ship looked like.

Today’s replica of the brig Pilgrim began as a three-masted schooner built in 1945 in Denmark; it was then converted to a brig in 1975 in Portugal. Now it’s a floating classroom with the Ocean Institute in Dana Point, California. The ship was used in Amistad, a movie directed by Steven Spielberg. While no one knows precisely how the original Pilgrim appeared, it quite likely resembled the ship I visited this morning.

The Pilgrim became immortalized in the classic book Two Years Before the Mast.
The Pilgrim became immortalized in the classic book Two Years Before the Mast.
Walking down to the Pilgrim, docked among many cool sailing ships.
Walking down to the Pilgrim, docked among many cool sailing ships.
Wooden figurehead of the Pilgrim is a representation of Richard Henry Dana Jr.
Wooden figurehead of the Pilgrim is a representation of Richard Henry Dana Jr.

I assume the figurehead of Dana holds a scroll because he went on to become a Harvard-educated lawyer. He advocated for groundbreaking laws which protected the common sailor and made life at sea for many a bit less dangerous and unfair.

San Diego Festival of Sail includes this historic, very interesting tall ship.
San Diego Festival of Sail includes this historic, very interesting tall ship.

Sadly, the gentleman welcoming visitors on board (not the guy pictured) apparently had never read Two Years Before the Mast. He didn’t seem to know anything about Dana’s stay in San Diego, cleaning and curing cattle hides just inside the bay at Point Loma, riding with his friend inland to the old Mission, and having memorable good times in Old Town when San Diego was in its infancy.

In the shade of a canvas sail, people from the Ocean Institute and visitors chat.
In the shade of a canvas sail, people from the Ocean Institute and visitors chat.
Sign stresses the critical importance of correct line handling.
Sign stresses the critical importance of correct line handling.
Gazing toward the bow past ship's bell and American flag.
Gazing toward the bow past ship’s bell and American flag.
The Pilgrim needed a crew of twelve to fourteen seamen to man her.
The Pilgrim needed a crew of twelve to fourteen seamen to man her.
I was one of the first aboard, before the big Labor Day weekend crowd arrived!
I was one of the first aboard, before the big Labor Day weekend crowd arrived!
That fuzzy stuff is called baggywrinkle!
That fuzzy stuff is called baggywrinkle!
Beyond ship's wheel, several tall ships are docked at Maritime Museum.
Beyond the ship’s wheel, several tall ships are docked at the San Diego Maritime Museum.
Advice from the cook--eat good hearty salt beef!
Advice from the cook–eat good hearty salt beef!

I like the passages in Two Years Before the Mast where Dana describes his difficult adjustment to the seafaring life.

The above sign includes his reaction after following the cook’s advice: “I got a huge piece of strong, cold salt beef from the cook and kept gnawing upon it until twelve o’clock. When we went on deck, I felt somewhat like a man, and could begin to learn my sea duty with considerable spirit.”

Pilgrim crew member works at a knot during San Diego's tall ship festival.
Pilgrim crew member works at a knot during San Diego’s tall ship festival.

The West Coast was a mostly desolate, seldom-visited frontier in those days long ago. It was a place of danger, difficult undertakings and true discovery. Sometimes during my easy walks around and about San Diego, I try to imagine the glorious horizons and raw natural beauty unaltered by modern development. It’s a place in time that now exists only in memory. And in great books.

Stern of the brig Pilgrim at the 2014 Festival of Sail.
Stern of the brig Pilgrim at the 2014 Festival of Sail.

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Working high in the rigging of Star of India.

Clinging to the end of Star of India's bowsprit.
Clinging to the end of Star of India’s bowsprit.

Dedicated members of San Diego’s Maritime Museum were hard at work yesterday, working in the Star of India’s rigging like busy spiders on a web.

The rigging of the historic three-masted bark is undergoing an overhaul, a project that is expected to take a full year. That’s according to the person selling tickets. The large yards of the foremast have already been removed and are lying on the sidewalk awaiting inspection and a new coat of paint. I was told the ship’s trees (platforms on the masts) are infested with termites. They’ll have to be repaired. To maintain the 150 year old Star of India, the oldest active sailing ship in the world, requires a lot of work!

People tangled in picturesque ship's rigging.
People tangled in picturesque ship’s rigging.
Like highwire artists on the slender ropes.
Like highwire artists on the slender ropes.
Looks like a lot of hard work.
Looks like a lot of hard work.
Yards from foremast wait on sidewalk to be painted.
Yards from foremast wait on sidewalk to be painted.
Maritime Museum members at work on Star of India.
Maritime Museum members at work on Star of India.
High up in the blue San Diego sky.
High up in the blue San Diego sky.

I got a quick photo of a San Diego Maritime Museum volunteer working on the yards on an early July morning!

Volunteer works on Star of India's yards.
Volunteer works on Star of India’s yards.

Here come several more pics taken in October. The top third of the foremast has been removed!

Top portion of foremast has been removed in October of 2014.
Top portion of Star of India foremast has been removed in October of 2014.
San Diego Maritime Museum volunteers work high up on the historic Star of India.
Maritime Museum of San Diego workers high up on the foremast of the historic Star of India.
On the shrouds, in a tangle of ropes between masts.
On a shroud, in a tangle of ropes and cables between masts.

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World’s oldest active sailing ship ready to go!

ready to board the star of india for yearly sail

Today a 150 year old tall ship was spotted sailing in the wide Pacific Ocean off Point Loma, just beyond the historic lighthouse! Was it a ghost from the past?  How is it possible?

It’s possible because San Diego’s own Star of India, the oldest active sailing ship in the world, departed from the dock today for its yearly sail!

I thought about buying a ticket for the historic event, but unfortunately I’m feeling a bit under the weather. This morning I did manage to amble down to the Embarcadero to watch and take some photos of the colorful preparations that are required for the beautiful ship to get underway.

In the first pic, you can see Maritime Museum members and some passengers gathered, getting ready to board or lend a hand.

star of india gets ready to sail

The guy hanging from some ropes just finished decoupling electrical and other lines from the black wrought iron hull of the docked ship.

climbing into the rigging of the star of india

Volunteers carefully climb up into the rigging to get everything ready for the sail!

volunteers work at end of yard arm

Some hardy folks were already up on the yard arms working at the rigging. Once the Star of India is pulled out of San Diego Bay, the sails are unfurled and the tall ship is completely free to run before the wind!

volunteer disengages ramp

After a bit of work, the ramp was finally disengaged from the ship and pulled backward onto the sidewalk.

volunteers prepare to release star of india rope

One by one the ropes holding the Star of India to the Embarcadero were cast off.

tugboat ready to pull star of india to sea

Here’s one of the two tugboats, ready to tow San Diego’s pride and joy out of the harbor. The classic figurehead of the Star will soon be facing the open sea!

star of india pulls away from the dock

Pulling away from the dock… A pair of museum volunteers look on wistfully…

star of india is tugged out of san diego harbor

The lady heads out into the bay’s deep channel… Aircraft hangars at Naval Air Station North Island can be seen on the left. Point Loma stretches in the background.

Definitely very cool!

Big crowd at San Diego’s 2013 Festival of Sail!

big crowd at festival of sail

Sunday afternoon brought a gigantic crowd to San Diego’s sunny waterfront. The 2013 Festival of Sail appears to be a resounding success! This photo was taken at the annual event’s busy entrance just south of the Star of India.

A huge mass of humanity also surged along the Embarcadero in the vicinity of the sand sculpture event on the cruise ship pier, and by the USS Midway and Seaport Village. Lines were long everywhere, and street vendors and performers were raking in the money!

One often hears that America’s Finest City is a top destination for tourists on Labor Day weekend…I certainly believe it!

UPDATE!

It’s almost a year later and the 2014 Festival of Sail is a couple days away! This year I’ll actually attend, brave the huge crowds and take a bunch of pics!

Banner is up a few days before the 2014 Festival of Sail!
Banner is up on Star of India a few days before the 2014 Festival of Sail!

Masts of tall ships docked on San Diego Bay.

festival of sail early morning 02

Here’s another pic taken in downtown San Diego this morning while I strolled along the Embarcadero. The intricate masts, yards and rigging projecting into the early morning sky belong to tall ships that will be participating in the 2013 Festival of Sail. I like how mysterious these ships can appear just after sunrise, as if they’re nautical ghosts visiting from the past! I wouldn’t have been surprised to glimpse Captain Ahab or The Ancient Mariner striding toward me along the bayside sidewalk!

UPDATE!

It’s a year later, and visiting tall ships have begun to arrive a couple days before the 2014 Festival of Sail. Here’s a pic I took early in the morning! This year I’ll make it a point to attend the big Labor Day weekend event and take loads of photos!

Two tall ships have arrived a couple days early for the 2014 Festival of Sail.
Two tall ships have arrived a couple days early for the 2014 Festival of Sail.

Early morning at San Diego Festival of Sail.

festival of sail early morning 01

This photograph was taken early this morning when I walked through downtown to catch the trolley for work. I strolled a short distance along the Embarcadero near the County Administration Building and was pleased to see many tall ships had already arrived to take part in the 2013 Festival of Sail this Labor Day weekend.

In addition to the San Diego Maritime Museum’s venerable Star of India, HMS Surprise and Californian, numerous high-masted sailing vessels will participate in the historic event. And simulated cannon battles will take place on San Diego Bay! Lots of excited people will be touring these beautiful ships!

Here’s a bonus pic from the following morning:

dark masts in a colorful sky
Masts of many tall ships in a colorful morning sky.

UPDATE!

It’s a year later! I checked out the 2014 Festival of Sail early Friday morning before the event began and took a few pics from behind the fence! Here they are! (I will be attending the event on Sunday, so look for many more detailed ship photos on the Cool San Diego Sights blog!)

HMS Surprise of San Diego Maritime Museum and masts of visiting tall ships beyond.
HMS Surprise of San Diego Maritime Museum and masts of visiting tall ships beyond.
Navy sailors run along Harbor Drive before the Labor Day weekend event begins.
Navy sailors run along Harbor Drive before the Labor Day weekend event begins.

The runner with the flag led a bunch of lustily singing Navy personnel on a run right next to the festival venue!

A view of tall ships participating in 2014 Festival of Sail on the Embarcadero.
A view of tall ships participating in 2014 Festival of Sail on the Embarcadero.